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Summer Congressional Internship Program Sponsors

Title Sponsor of the CHCI Summer
Congressional Internship Program

Best Buy

National HEP CAMP Association

Southwest is the Official Airline of
CHCI's Leadership Programs

Jasmin Del Castillo, Darden Intern

               “This week I had the pleasure of volunteering at a local non-profit organization called Suite for Change. Suite for Change provides homeless women a chance to look their best during an interview by providing them with sets of donated business outfits. By volunteering and collecting the donated items I realized how important it is to serve our community and dedicate our time to making a difference, which is something I hope to do in my community back home as well.”

José Luis Gómez, General Electric Intern

“This Friday, many of us were able to find seats facing the White House for the National Independence Day Parade. It was a beautiful day that allowed us to bond and take advantage of all that it DC has to offer on the 4th of July!”

Maurizio Lorenzetti, Time Warner Cable Intern

“On Saturday morning some interns and I went to volunteer at the AFL-CIO/CASA de Maryland’s first ever Citizenship workshop. Being a DACA recipient, it felt so touching to meet other fellow DREAMers and help them with the DACA process.”

Maria Velazquez, Teach for America Intern

“My first week on the hill was filled with firsts; from talking to constituents, to helping with immigration case work, to briefings, to meeting Jersey Vargas and her family. I got to meet my Congressman (Rep. Luis Gutierrez) and I was honestly star struck. I was able to accompany him to an interview with Fox News and it was all so surreal. I look forward to a very exciting and unforgettable summer where I will continue to develop as a future Latino leader. CHCI has provided me an amazing opportunity I cannot waste.”

Frangell Basora, Toyota Intern

“The highlight of my week was being told by Hispanic leaders such as William Gil and Esther Aguilera, that I am a leader, an investment and I stand for those at a disadvantage."

Katherine Fernandez, David Bohnett Intern

"My highlight for this week was the alumni panel! I really wish we had more time to talk to the CHCI Alumns because just hearing about their experiences and advice has really boosted my confidence in entering the workforce come Monday. I feel really blessed to be a part of this organization."

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CHCI 2014 Summer Interns

2014 CHCI Summer Congressional Interns:

Jonathan Alvarez


Emmanuel Galvan


Omar Padilla


Maria Topete

Ana Avalos

José Luis Gómez

Cheyenne Palmer

Alfonso Toro

Frangell Basora 

Enrique Granados

Elliot Parras

Tomas G. Uriostegui

Eduardo Bautista Pascual

Karen Lara

Emmanuel Perez

Perlita Varela

Yorkiris Benitez-Franco

Robert Locke

Magaly Perez

Jesus Vazquez

Leslie Cepeda

Roberto Lopez

Juan Pham

Victoria Velasquez

Jasmin Del Castillo

Maurizio Lorenzetti

Nathasha Quiroz

Maria Velazquez

Mayra Estrada

Penelope Martinez

Rosa Reyes

Diana Vergara

Katherine Fernandez

Enedina Maya

Isaac Reynoso

Nicolas Wulff

Anselmo Fuentes

Humberto Mercader

Alejandra Romero

2014 Summer HEP CAMP Interns:

Alberto Aramburo

Vianney Gonzalez

Ariana Rodriguez

Elizabeth Castro

Samantha Rivera

Diana Rojas

Detailed Demographics: 2014 CHCI Summer Interns


Jonathan Alvarez, Best Buy Intern
Hometown: Montebello, CA
School: Whittier College
Major: Organizational Development
Placement: Office of Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod

A first generation college student born and raised in Montebello, California, Jonathan is the son of a working class Mexican-American family that strived to provide their children with the best education possible. As his parents worked to put him and his siblings through private school, he learned the value of hard work and sacrifice.

Jonathan is a junior at Whittier College and a member of the Whittier Scholars Program, which allows him to self-design his major of organizational development. Jonathan was also recognized by the Center for Engagement with Communities for his service to the Whittier Community. After college, Jonathan hopes to attend graduate school with a focus on leadership.

As a CHCI Intern, Jonathan hopes to gain a better understanding of the legislative process, and its impact on the Hispanic community at a national level. Jonathan hopes to return home and make a positive impact in his own community through his actions and leadership.

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Ana Avalos, Comcast Intern
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
School: University of California, Santa Cruz
Major: Spanish Literature and Women's Studies
Placement: Office of Rep. Raul Ruiz

Ana Avalos of K’ich’e Mayan descent, was born and raised in the small town of Aldea San Rafael Tierras del Pueblo, Guatemala, along with her six sisters and two brothers. She is the first in her family to attend college. Ana, along with her family, immigrated to San Francisco at the age of fourteen. Ana faced the challenges of learning and understanding a new language, culture, and adapting to a new city while her parents and sisters worked. Ana’s dream of obtaining an education and helping her family and community, both in the United States and in Guatemala, has kept her motivated. 

Ana is a double major in Spanish literature and feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She hopes to become an immigration attorney and help her indigenous community in Guatemala.

As a CHCI Intern, Ana is looking forward to learning about the United States Congress and how democracy functions.

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Frangell Basora, Toyota Intern
Hometown: New York, NY
School: Columbia University
Major: Political Science
Placement: Office of Rep. José Serrano

Frangell Basora is a first-generation Dominican-American and the first in his family to attend college. Raised in New York City, Frangell grew up in a single-parent household. He attends Columbia University and is majoring in political science with a minor in philosophy.

Upon graduating, Frangell hopes to enroll in law school to further his knowledge in legal aspects and help make changes here in the United States and around the world.          

As a CHCI Intern, Frangell hopes to improve his understanding of the legislative process. He hopes to be exposed to the different political ideologies and learn from his fellow CHCI student leaders.

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Eduardo Bautista Pascual, Best Buy Intern
Hometown: Dayton, TN
School: University of Tennessee
Major: Accounting
Placement: Office of Sen. Sherrod Brown

Born in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Eduardo Bautista Pascual and his family moved to the United States in search of a better life. Without a formal education, and limited English, his parents had difficulty finding jobs, but eventually found employment in the manufacturing sector. Living in Dayton, Tennessee, Eduardo enrolled in the local middle school and later finished high school.

Today, Eduardo attends the University of Tennessee and is majoring in accounting. After he graduates, he plans to enroll in the Master of Accountancy (MAcc) Program at the University of Tennessee in order to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Eduardo is proud to be the first in his family to attend college and hopes to encourage other young minorities to pursue a career in accounting by helping his future employer secure minority college students as interns.

As a CHCI Intern, he plans to gain valuable skills though the internship and a broader knowledge of how politics affect Latinos.

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Yorkiris Alexandra Benitez-Franco, Time Warner Cable Intern
Hometown: Kalamazoo, MI
School: Western Michigan University
Major: Industrial Engineering
Placement: Office of Rep. Sandy Levin  

Born and raised in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, Yorkiris Benitez represents the first generation in her family to attend college.  Currently a junior, Yorkiris attends Western Michigan University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering with a minor in integrated supply matrix management. When she was in high school, Yorkiris was chosen to represent her school in the Model United Nations Conference, which sparked her interest in politics and community service.

Yorkiris has been active in many nonprofit organizations such as Alternative Bronco Breaks, Model UN volunteers, Latinos Alliance, and the Dominican Student Organization. During her last experience with the Alternative Bronco Breaks 2014, she was one of two site leaders that traveled to San Antonio, Texas with a group of volunteers to spend the week assisting in a children’s shelter.

As a CHCI Intern, Yorkiris hopes to gain knowledge about the legislative process and public policy issues that affect the Latino population in order for her to make a positive change in her community.

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Leslie Cepeda, Comcast Intern
Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT
School: University of Utah
Major: Anthropology
Placement: Office of Sen. Michael F. Bennet

Leslie Cepeda was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. She moved to the United States in June of 2009. She finished her senior year at East High School and graduated with honors. She is now pursuing a major in anthropology with an emphasis on health and minors in human biology and chemistry at the University of Utah with the hopes of becoming a doctor. She is a United Health Foundation Scholar and was a Presidential Intern for the President’s Office of the University of Utah last year and returned as a Lead Ambassador for this year’s cohort. She has been working at Rocky Mountain Occupational and Environmental Health, as a research assistant for four years, and participated as a research assistant in the Social Networking LEAP Research. Leslie has been looking for opportunities to serve underrepresented communities through Freshman Corps at the Bennion Center, Health Access Project, and Latino Medical Student Association. Additionally, she has volunteered in the Madsen Clinic, Discovery Gateway, and Salt Lake Medical Regional Center.

As a CHCI Intern, Leslie hopes to gain a better understanding of  the legislative process at a national level, and use leadership skills and government knowledge to become a better health professional representing the Latino community.

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Jasmin Del Castillo, Darden Intern
Hometown: Coachella Valley, CA
School: University of California Irvine
Major: Political Science
Placement: U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of the Secretary

Jasmin Del Castillo is currently a student at the University of California Irvine where she is pursuing a degree in political science with the hopes of dedicating her life to public service.  She is a first generation American who grew up in Coachella Valley, California and was raised by a hardworking mother, who as an immigrant and single parent successfully taught her children to never give up and to always reach their full potential.

Jasmin understands the importance of giving back and since the age of nine has sought out volunteer opportunities. In the past, Jasmin has held a position in UCI’s student government, interned for organizations such as Susan G. Komen, and has been awarded titles such as Future Change Maker of 2014 by Hispanas Organized for Political Equality. Jasmin serves as a UCDC coordinator, professionally training and mentoring a group of select UCI students on networking, administrative tasks, and communication while helping them find internships in DC. In addition, she currently serves as a fellow mentor for UCI freshman through the Anteater Mentorship Program and the Girls Inc. Orange County Affiliate.

Jasmin feels her purpose is to continue learning and give back to her community. She hopes to serve as an elected state official. Having recently interned with her Congressman, Jasmin acknowledges the hard work and sacrifices government officials make for their district and feels it is her duty to do the same.

As a CHCI Intern, Jasmin plans to acquire legislative knowledge and work hard in the hopes of one day serving her community as a congresswoman or senator. She is dedicated to providing education and healthy recreational opportunities towards a variety of communities.

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Mayra Estrada, United Health Foundation Intern
Vale, OR
Boise State University
Major: Chemistry
Office of Sen. Ron Wyden

Mayra Estrada was born in Ontario, Oregon and grew up in the small farm town of Vale. She is the oldest child in her family, with three younger brothers. Both her parents are from Ixtapan de la Sal in the state of Mexico. At a young age, Mayra’s mother was diagnosed with type-one diabetes which led to Mayra’s interest in medicine. Since the age of thirteen, Myra worked as a farm worker with her mother, and it was through this experience that she learned the meaning of hard work. She was also exposed to the mistreatment of farm workers throughout her years of working in the fields.

She was the first one in her family to graduate from high school and the only Latina in her class. Mayra is pursuing a major in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry and a minor in biomedical engineering at Boise State University. She aspires to one day work with Doctors Without Borders and travel to Spanish speaking countries to serve the poor. Mayra also hopes to earn her master’s degree in chemical engineering and work to improve diabetes medications and water resources.

As a CHCI Intern, Mayra hopes to gain confidence, leadership skills, professional networking skills, and a better understanding on how our government functions.

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Katerín Fernández, David Bohnett Intern
Hometown: Newark, NJ
School: Tufts University
Major: Women's Studies
Placement: Office of Sen. Robert Menéndez

Katerín is a first-generation Afro-Dominican woman with academic interests in disability justice, languages and creolization. She is a recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship, which is awarded to 1,000 students of color across the nation on the basis of leadership, community service, and scholastic achievement. Katerín is pursuing a degree in women's studies as well as linguistics at Tufts University.

Upon graduation, Katerín plans to enter a public health policy program to further her primary interests in disability policy work.

As a CHCI Intern, Katerín hopes to gain a better understanding of the connection between policy and certain populations; particularly the disabled, the poor, and people of color.

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Anselmo Fuentes, Teach for America Intern
Hometown: San Diego, CA
School: Brown University
Major: Education and Urban Studies
Placement: Office of Rep. Juan Vargas

Anselmo Fuentes was born in Colima, Mexico and raised in Imperial Beach and San Diego, California. His parents migrated to the United States at a young age and their hard work to provide a better life for Anselmo and his two siblings motivates him to honor the dreams his parents left behind in Mexico for a better future.

Anselmo is a product of the public school system and witnessed firsthand the challenges low income minorities face. He is an education and urban studies major at Brown University and hopes to further work with urban marginalized youth, by providing socio-emotional and academic support, as well as promoting positive racial identities amongst our youth of color.

As a CHCI Intern, Anselmo hopes to become a part of a community focused on enacting change for Latinos, as well as gain professional skills, leadership development, and a more personal understanding of the legislative process.

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Emmanuel Isaias Galvan, Toyota Intern
Hometown: Hatch, NM 
School: New Mexico State University
Major: Film Animation and Criminal Justice
Placement: Office of Rep. Ben Ray Luján

Emmanuel Galvan is a first generation Mexican-American born in Mexico and raised in Hatch, New Mexico. He is a senior at New Mexico State University pursuing a double major in animation and criminal justice. Throughout his college years, Emmanuel has held a part-time job as a student aid for the New Mexico State University Library.

Emmanuel has also been involved in multiple student organizations including the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), the CAMP Student Council, and the Cesar Chavez Blood Drive. He is also a member of the Planning and Awareness for College Education (PACE) organization where he provides information, advice, and resources to minority high school students interested in attending college. During his sophomore year, Emmanuel was selected for an internship for the Agricultural Science Summer Undergraduate Research, Education and Development Program (ASSURED). The program gave him the experience of graduate level work. In April 2014, he was awarded the Louise Salazar/CAMP Endowed Scholarship. 

As a CHCI Intern, Emmanuel is eager to learn more about public policy and to further develop his leadership skills so he can apply them to help the Latino community back home.

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José Luis Gómez, General Electric Intern
Claremont, CA
Pomona College
Public Policy and Sociology
Office of Rep. Ed Pastor

José Luis Gómez was born on the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border to a binational family. He is the youngest of three children. Raised by a Mexican mother who made the choice to migrate to the United States in 2002, he has lived in culturally-rich but low-income immigrant communities of Phoenix, Arizona.

As a Questbridge Scholar, José Luis is the first person in his family to attend college. He is a rising junior at Pomona College in Claremont, California, where he studies public policy analysis with a concentration in sociology. On campus, he works at the Draper Center for Community Partnerships and coordinates a week-long community engagement trip by managing a tutoring program in local elementary schools and facilitating campus-visits for students to learn about the college.

José Luis is also involved with the Improving Dreams, Equality, Access, and Success organization at the Claremont Colleges, which advocates for the rights of immigrant communities on and off campus. His interests include migration, storytelling, social justice, and the empowerment of communities of color. José Luis hopes to pursue an education in immigration law and work on advocating for immigrant communities in the United States and abroad.

As a CHCI Intern, José Luis hopes to better understand ways historically-marginalized communities can become more politically involved while acquiring knowledge from leaders involved in policy.  He is grateful for the opportunity and looks forward to all that he will gain this summer.

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Enrique Granados, Cisneros Family Endowment Intern
Hometown: Santa Ana, CA
School: Georgetown University
Major: Mandarin Chinese
Placement: Office of Rep. Loretta Sanchez

Enrique Granados Jr. was born and raised in Santa Ana, California, but now resides on the east coast of the United States. He moved to the east coast to attend St. Paul's School, a private boarding school in Concord, New Hampshire. The middle child of three, he is a first generation Mexican-American and college student at Georgetown University.

Enrique is majoring in Mandarin Chinese and minoring in linguistics, which have been his interests throughout his undergraduate career. This passion started in high school and grew after spending time abroad in Beijing during his third year at St. Paul's. He hopes his passion for language and linguistics will help further a career in the Foreign Service or other opportunities with China.

As a CHCI Intern, Enrique hopes to get an intimate look at the country’s internal political structure, and broaden his network with other incredible students and staff.

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Karen Lara, General Electric Intern
Hometown: San Luis, AZ
School: University of Arizona
Major: Public Management and Policy
Placement: Office of Rep. Raúl Grijalva

Raised in San Luis, Arizona, Karen Lara grew up in a humble, loving, and hardworking household. Her parents were born and raised in northern Mexico and migrated to the United States with the hopes of a better life. Even though Karen’s father had recently received a bachelor’s degree in Architecture in Mexico, Karen’s parents earned a living working in the lettuce fields while raising their children and trying to provide them better academic opportunities.

Karen was eager to make a positive change and began taking college credit math courses at the age of thirteen at Arizona Western College. As an undergraduate at the University of Arizona, Karen currently holds a 3.6 GPA while pursuing a bachelors of science in public management and policy with a concentration in criminal justice studies and a minor in Spanish. Additionally, Karen started taking graduate courses through the UA Accelerated Master of Public Administration and will complete both undergraduate and graduate studies in a total of four years after receiving her high school diploma.

Karen hopes that her education and work experience serve as examples to others. She looks forward to earning her MPA and entering the workforce to serve as a leader in the government sector and advocate for social justice and immigration policies.

As a CHCI Intern, Karen strives to gain the leadership and networking skills necessary to become an agent of change in the government sector.

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Robert Locke, Pfizer Intern
Hometown: Worcester, MA
School: The Johns Hopkins University
Major: Public Health
Placement: Office of Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Robert Locke was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts to a Colombian mother who instilled in him the value of education and hard work. Robert is a rising senior at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland where he is majoring in public health.

Robert has been an active participant in his communities, both in Worcester and in Baltimore. As a student in Baltimore, he served as an intern with the Latino Providers Network, a community action non-profit designed to organize and foster collaboration amongst community providers for the benefit and representation of Baltimore City’s rapidly increasing Latino population. Robert worked with the Baltimore City Department of Social Services to help provide eviction prevention resources and became a research assistant for a research study at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Robert is Secretary-General of the Johns Hopkins Model United Nations Conference, leading the second-largest student group on campus in running an annual four-day Model United Nations conference attended by more than 2,000 students from around the world.

As a CHCI Intern, Robert looks forward to returning to Capitol Hill in the hopes of continuing to explore his long standing passion for public service and how he can have a positive impact on the lives of people in the United States and abroad.

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Roberto Lopez, Time Warner Cable Intern
Hometown: Harlingen, TX
School: Cornell University
Major: Electrical Engineering
Placement: Office of Rep. Filemon Vela

Roberto Lopez hails from Harlingen, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. His parents and grandparents have lived through many challenges, which have inspired him to work towards a brighter future for the Latino community.

Robert attends Cornell University, studying electrical and computer engineering. He became a co-president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and had the privilege to take classes at the Cornell Law School. Working with SHPE, he found a strong motivation towards working with members of the local Latino community,  helping parents and students obtain STEM field information, and fellow classmates gain internship and job opportunities.

Roberto plans to attend law school after finishing his undergraduate degree.  Eventually, he would like to be a U.S. Congressman and work on education policy and reform by addressing issues that low-income groups face in the current education system.

As a CHCI Intern, Roberto looks forward to learning about policy and community development. He hopes that the summer internship will provide great friendship, networking, and professional development opportunities.

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Maurizio Lorenzetti Becerra, Time Warner Cable Intern
Leesburg, VA
University of Arkansas
Information Systems
Office of Sen. Sherrod Brown

Born and raised in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Maurizio Lorenzetti left at the age of seven with his family to move to the United States. He is the first in his family to attend a university in the United States.

Maurizio is one of the 1.4 million DREAMers in the United States. He fought against severe odds including the fear of potential deportation, but he graduated from Heritage High School in 2011 and received a scholarship to attend Northern Virginia Community College, where he earned his Associates Degree in business administration. 

After receiving DACA, Maurizio’s life changed. He received a scholarship and transferred to the University of Arkansas, where he currently majors in information systems at the Walton College of Business. Maurizio’s younger sister will qualify for DACA in August of this year, and his goal is to be a role model not only for her, but also to the millions of DREAMers in the U.S.

As a CHCI Intern, Maurizio looks forward to gaining knowledge about the legislative process to better serve his Latino community.

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Penelope Martinez, Toyota Intern
Hometown: San Antonio, TX
School: University of Texas at San Antonio
Major: Business Management
Placement: Office of Rep. Joaquin Castro 

Penelope is a senior at the University of Texas at San Antonio pursuing a degree in business management.  Her childhood consisted of constantly moving and taking care of her younger sisters while their mother worked to provide for them. As a result of her mother’s hard work, Penelope and her family were able to move to a better school district, giving Penelope the opportunity to attend Northside Health Careers High School.

During her four years at Health Careers, Penelope received her CNA license, and took a job taking care of the elderly. She will be the first in her family to graduate from college and has been driven by the ideas of helping others and making a difference.

As a CHCI Intern, Penelope hopes to gain congressional experience, and learn new skills she can apply to her community.

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Enedina Maya, Time Warner Cable Intern
Yonkers, NY
The College of Saint Rose
Placement: Office of Rep. Nydia Velázquez

Enedina Maya is a first generation Mexican-American raised in Yonkers, New York. Enedina is pursuing a degree in mathematics and adolescent education at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York.

Throughout her college career, she has been highly involved in community service and has worked at the Office of Spiritual Life. She has volunteered in soup kitchens in Washington D.C. and helped rebuild the lower ninth ward in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Community service has become a huge passion of hers and she hopes to dedicate a year of service after college.

 As a CHCI Intern, Enedina hopes to gain a better understanding of the political world and to impact someone’s life from that experience.

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Humberto Mercader, Dario O. Marquez Jr. Intern
Hometown: Sabana Grande, PR
School: University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
Major: Electrical Engineering
Placement: Office of Rep. Charles B. Rangel

Humberto Mercader was born and raised in Puerto Rico. As a senior at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, Humberto is majoring in electrical engineering with a minor in international relations. He hopes to attend graduate school to pursue an MBA in finance.

Humberto’s interest in politics began in 2012 when Puerto Ricans took a vote against its current political status. Understanding the need for a change in Puerto Rico’s political status has led him to be active in organizations, such as grassroots movement Boricua Ahora Es! He has participated in several educational campaigns on this topic to encourage other students to take active participation on the discussion of Puerto Rico’s political future.  

As a CHCI Intern, Humberto looks forward to increasing his knowledge of the legislative process and furthering his understanding of public policy at the federal level.

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Omar Padilla, Prudential Intern
Hometown: Arlington, TX
School: University of Texas at Arlington
Major: International Business Administration
Placement: Office of Financial Management, U.S. Department of the Treasury

Omar Padilla is a first generation Mexican-American from Arlington, Texas. He is pursuing a degree in international business administration with an emphasis on Spanish at the University of Texas at Arlington.  Omar is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society and the UTA Rotaract Club. He has also maintained the honorary position in the Business Department Dean List since 2010, the recipient of the UTA Academic Achievement Award for 2014.

Omar became a first time recipient at his university to participate in a new pre-law internship, which involved volunteering at Legal Aid clinics in Northern West Texas and at local junior and high schools. As a volunteer he is helping guide Hispanic students to pursue higher education. Omar hopes to receive a dual JD-MBA., and one day work for the World Bank.

As a CHCI Intern, Omar looks forward to learning about the legislative process, developing his leadership skills, and networking with other great leaders.

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Cheyenne Palmer, Toyota Intern
Hometown: El Paso, TX
School: St. Mary’s University
Major: Criminology
Placement: Office of Rep. Beto O’Rourke

Cheyenne was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. After losing her father at the age of eleven, Cheyenne’s family struggled financially to afford even the basic needs of food and shelter. Cheyenne’s experiences have inspired her to pursue a law degree to serve troubled teens and make a difference in the lives of young individuals faced with hard times.

Cheyenne is a junior at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, majoring in criminology. Through CHCI, she would like to enhance her knowledge of how Congress works in hopes that this will help her find more efficient ways of helping others.

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Elliot Parras, Toyota Intern
Hometown: Albuquerque, NM
School: New Mexico State University
Major: Government and Communication Studies
Placement: Office of Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham

Elliot Parras is a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico and was raised in a traditional Hispanic household by his grandparents, mother, and his mother’s partner Denise, until the age of twelve. Representing the first generation on his mother’s side to attend college, Elliot is proud of his education. He is currently pursuing two bachelor degrees in government and communication studies, as well as a minor in advertisement at NMSU Las Cruces.

At NMSU, he is actively involved in many campus organizations and has always been politically inclined and interested in government. Elliot hopes to attend law school in the fall of 2015 with the ultimate goal of establishing his own firm and practicing civil law to bring social justice to those who experience discrimination. Elliot is exceedingly passionate about his career and looks forward to the skills CHCI will provide him with to help further his success.

As a CHCI Intern, Elliot hopes to increase his knowledge about the legislative process. He also hopes to network and create relationships that will help him in the future with different career opportunities while working with other Hispanic students from all over the country.

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Emmanuel Perez, Toyota Intern
Hometown: Delhi, CA
School: University of California, Berkeley
Major: Political Science
Placement: Office of Rep. Jim Costa

Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Perez was born in Turlock, California and raised in Delhi, California. His parents migrated from Jalisco, Mexico in search of greater educational and occupational opportunities for their family.

Manny is a first generation student at the University of California, Berkeley, pursuing a degree in political science and minoring in education. After college, he hopes to become a community organizer or a Capitol Hill staffer for a couple of years, and then return to school to pursue either a Juris Doctor, Masters in Public Policy, or Masters in Business Administration. He expects to utilize his education to one day run for office.

Manny hopes to become a voice for the Central Valley. He hopes to expand educational opportunities into historically underprivileged communities such as the Central Valley of California.

As a CHCI Intern, Manny hopes to strengthen his leadership capabilities and acquire firsthand knowledge on problem-solving mechanisms that politicians utilize to solve our country’s complex problems and issues. He also hopes to familiarize himself with the intricacies of the legislative process to better position himself for the achievement of his ultimate goal, which is to become President of the United States of America.

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Magaly Perez, Dario O. Marquez Jr. Intern
Hometown: Enola, PA
School: Temple University
Major: Criminal Justice
Placement: Office of Sen. Chuck Schumer

Magaly Perez is a first generation Puerto Rican-American born in Reading, Pennsylvania and raised in Enola, Pennsylvania. She is the first to attend college in her family and the oldest of three children. She is a junior at Temple University majoring in criminal justice with minors in Spanish and political science. She is involved on campus with such organizations as the Criminal Justice Society, Delta Zeta Sorority, and Order of Omega, which is a leadership honor society for Greek members.

Magaly was raised in a single parent household that instilled in her the values of hard work and determination. Women in her family have influenced her life to pursue her dreams and never give up.
Magaly immersed herself in the criminal justice system while interning for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and partaking in the Inside-Out Prison-Exchange Program. She received exposure to the law and dialogic examination of issues by their social significance through the perspective of incarcerated individuals.

As a CHCI Intern, Magaly hopes to gain a better understanding of law, public policy, and foreign policy. She knows that acquiring these skills, connections and experience will be used to help her obtain a rewarding position in the government, while positively impacting the Hispanic community.

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Juan Pham, Chevron Intern
Hometown: Princeton, FL
School: Florida International University
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Placement: Office of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Juan Pham was born in Havana, Cuba and lived with his mother, sister and grandmother in Pinar De Rio. He moved to the United States at the age of four. Growing up, Juan never had his father, so he learned on his own how to adapt to a new way of life. Learning a new language while still maintaining a cultural linkage to Cuba offered challenges. His single mother and grandfather taught him the true meaning of hard work.

Juan attends Florida International University and majors in biomedical engineering. He hopes to someday have the opportunity to create machines that enhance the human’s physiological capabilities. With a strong character, determination and a positive outlook on life, Juan aspires to someday make an impact on the world through innovation.

As a CHCI Intern, he hopes to sharpen his abilities while gaining first-hand experience on how the government functions.

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Nathasha Quiroz, Pfizer Intern
Hometown: Bronx, NY
School: Brandeis University
Major: Anthropology and Public Health
Placement: Office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Nathasha Quiroz and her twin sister were born to a Dominican mother and an Ecuadorian father who constantly worked to support them and their eldest sister. Growing up, Nathasha looked up to her mother who exemplified hard work and perseverance while instilling in her three daughters the confidence and inspiration to chase their dreams.

At Brandeis University, Nathasha is currently pursuing bachelor degrees in anthropology and health: science, society, and policy (HSSP), with minors in legal studies and philosophy. She is also part of the Brandeis Varsity Softball Team, where she plays outfield and served as a mentor to her teammates. After her expected graduation in spring 2015, Nathasha hopes to pursue a career in the legal world.

As a CHCI Intern, Nathasha hopes to polish her skills and gain experience in the legal field.

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Rosa Elizabeth Reyes, National Association of Broadcasters Intern
Hometown: San Elizario, TX
School: New Mexico State University
Major: Communication Studies and Digital Film Making 
Placement: Office of Rep. Pete Gallego

Rosa is a Mexican-American born in El Paso, Texas and raised in San Elizario, Texas. She comes from a relatively small family and is the second child of three. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico.

A rising sophomore at New Mexico State University and a double major in communication studies and digital film making, she has been an active member in her community. She has been involved in various honor societies including NSCS, Gamma Beta Phi, and Phi Eta Sigma. Rosa enjoys working with others and is focused on supporting her community through service projects and professional associations. 

As a CHCI Intern, Rosa plans to broaden her knowledge on the political process and gain the professional experience needed to implement and manage valuable social and professional programs across her community. 

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Isaac Reynoso, Cisneros Family Endowment Intern
Hometown: San Dimas, CA
School: George Washington University
Major: Political Science
Placement: Office of Rep. Grace Napolitano

Isaac Reynoso was born and raised in Southern California. He currently attends George Washington University where he is pursuing his B.A. in political science and a minor in business administration.

Isaac is a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity, Gamma Eta chapter, where he was a member of the Internal Philanthropy Committee. As a member of this committee, he was able to help his organization raise over $5,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  Isaac is also a member of the Colligate DECA team, where as a freshman, he took first place in the business competition’s International Marketing division at a regional competition. This previous summer he interned at Depinto Morales Communications where he conducted research for future company projects as well as managing several events.  

As a CHCI Intern, Isaac hopes he will learn valuable skills that he can use as he moves forward in his career. He looks forward to making valuable connections with his fellow CHCI Interns and staff on Capitol Hill.

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Alejandra Romero, College of Southern Nevada Intern
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
School: College of Southern Nevada
Major: Communications and Philosophy
Placement: Office of Sen. Harry Reid

Alejandra Romero was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, and is the oldest of two siblings. Maria is the first in her family to pursue a higher education degree. Alejandra will receive her associates degree in communications from the College of Southern Nevada this spring, and will continue on to the University of Nevada Las Vegas to pursue a bachelor’s degree in philosophy with a concentration in law and justice.

After graduating from UNLV, Alejandra hopes to attend Boyd Law School. She hopes to return to her community and serve underrepresented families.

As a CHCI Intern, Alejandra hopes to gain a firm understanding of the legislative process.

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Maria Topete, College of Southern Nevada Intern
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
School: College of Southern Nevada
Major: Nursing
Placement: Office of Rep. Donna Christensen

Maria Topete is a first generation Mexican-American born in Tarzana, California and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. She comes from a single mother family. Her mother taught her that hard work and perseverance can take you a long way in life.

Maria attends the College of Southern Nevada and has spent the last semester as a Senator at one of her school’s main campuses. As a Senator, Maria has come to understand the importance of the legislative process.

As a CHCI Intern, Maria hopes to expand her knowledge of the legislative system to continue to help future generations.

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Alfonso Toro, David Bohnett Intern
Hometown: Bell Gardens, CA
School: Yale University
Major: Ethnic Studies
Placement: Office of Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard

Alfonso Toro, Jr. is currently pursuing a bachelor of arts in ethnicity, race, and migration at Yale University. He was born and raised in the city of Bell Gardens, California to immigrant parents from Jalisco, Mexico. His parent’s limited access to education, inspired Alfonso to take advantage of his own public school education. He graduated from high school first in his class with honors and is the first in his family to go to a four-year university.

Alfonso is involved with La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc., Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA) and Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Yale. He believes in sharing and being open to other’s cultures and beliefs and has been involved with college council, LGBTQ organizations, the intercultural affairs council and other similar organizations that focus on the empowerment of minorities and people of color. He will working as a Peer Liaison, a role that advices-incoming freshman on college life and academics.

He is proud to say that he would not be where he is without the support from his family, his friends, teachers and his mentors. After he graduates, he would like to practice immigration law and help the Latino population in the United States.

As a CHCI Intern, Alfonso hopes to gain more insight into the career that he's planning on pursuing which involves working closely with the Latino and LGBTQ community. He wants to gain a solid understanding of what it means to work on Capitol Hill and find ways to create change not just at the local level, but also at the federal level.

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Tomas G. Uriostegui, UPS Intern
Hometown: Melrose Park, IL
School: Northeastern Illinois University
Major: Latin American Studies
Placement: U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Secretary

Raised by his Mexican immigrant parents, Tomas Uriostegui became the first in his family to attend college. Tomas comes from a family of hard working women, and credits his mother and sister for the person he is, and is thankful for his mentors and professors. He has a passion for education, immigration and civil and human rights.

Throughout his college career, Tomas has been involved in numerous organizations that have left a great impact on him such as The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, and the Student Government Association. Tomas hopes to attend law school, practice law, and become a judge eventually.

As a CHCI Intern, Tomas hopes to expand his knowledge of the legislative process and politics. He hopes to connect with individuals who can encourage him to grow both personally and professionally.

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Perlita Varela, UPS Intern
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA 
School: California State University, Northridge
Major: Political Science
Placement: U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of the Treasurer

Perlita Varela was born in Los Angeles, California and was raised with four sisters. Her parents came from Puebla, Mexico and obtained U.S. residency and citizenship, which helped them live in the United States without the fear of being deported. Perlita understands the meaning and value of her parents leaving their native land has in order to give their children a better future and a better chance at life. Perlita was raised to value family and education. She grew up with the attitude that without an education and goals were critical to her success.

Perlita currently attends California State University, Northridge majoring in political science. After graduation, Perlita plans to attend law school and become a politician to better serve her community.

As a CHCI Intern, Varela hopes to gain legislative knowledge and first-hand experience in order to accomplish her dreams of working in government.

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Jesus Vazquez, Marathon Oil Intern
Hometown: Laredo, TX
School: Texas A&M International University
Major: Systems Engineering
Placement: Office of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee

Jesús Arnulfo Vazquez attends Texas A&M International University pursuing a degree in systems engineering. Before attending Texas A&M International University, Jesus attended Laredo Community College where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with an Associates in Science.

He is currently employed as a Lead Tutor at the University Learning Center (TAMIU) where he assists students in mathematics. Jesus participated in the Latino Leadership Initiative program at the Harvard Kennedy School, which consists of classes on leadership and professional training.

His strong interests in public service and volunteering have guided his decision to seek a career in the public sector. Jesus plans to attend law school and pursue a career in the public sector where he can further the advancement of his community, as well as assist undocumented students accomplish the American Dream.

As a CHCI Intern, Jesus is eager to take advantage of this opportunity and experiences in order to network with other interns who share the same values of helping the Hispanic community, develop new leadership skills, and strengthen his knowledge of public policy.

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Victoria Velasquez, Darden Intern
Hometown: McAllen, TX
School: The University of Texas Pan American
Major: Finance
Placement: Office of Rep. Rubén Hinojosa

Victoria Brianna Velasquez was born and raised in McAllen, Texas. She is a senior at the University of Texas- Pan American (UTPA) pursuing a degree in finance.

Throughout her college career, Victoria has been actively involved with mentoring programs, Student Government Association, The Guerra Honors Program, the Harvard Latino Leadership Initiative, and Delta Zeta Sorority. For the past two years, she has worked with the UTPA Sophomore Academic Mentoring (SAM) program as a mentor in efforts to increase sophomore retention rates. She has also been dedicated to the Student Government Association as an intern, a Senator-at-Large, Associate Justice, and currently, Chief Justice. Victoria aspires to attend law school and return to the Rio Grande Valley to practice law.

As a CHCI Intern, Victoria looks forward to developing her leadership skills and learning how to serve her community.

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Maria Guadalupe Velazquez, Teach for America Intern
Hometown: Chicago, IL
School: University of Iowa 
Major: International Studies & Spanish
Placement: Office of Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez

Maria is a first generation Mexican-American born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She witnessed the hardships faced by her parents, and the sacrifices they made in order to ensure Maria and her younger brother had access to an education and more opportunities. She makes it a priority to promote cultural awareness and understands the importance of being culturally competent.

Maria is a junior pursuing a double major in international studies and Spanish at the University of Iowa. She serves as Vice President of Programming and Development for her sorority, Sigma Lambda Gamma, and is also active as a student worker for Upward Bound and a member of ALMA (All Latinos Moving Ahead).

After graduation, Maria plans to attend graduate school to pursue a degree in higher education and student affairs in order to empower the Latino community and other underrepresented groups.

As a CHCI Intern, Maria hopes to better understand the legislative process and further develop her leadership skills to better serve her community.

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Diana Vergara, Comcast Intern
Hometown: Encinitas, CA
School: San Francisco State University
Major: Criminal Justice and Psychology
Placement: Office of Rep. Alan Lowenthall

Diana Vergara was born in Mexico and raised in Encinitas, California. She is an incoming senior at San Francisco State University double majoring in criminal justice and psychology. Diana has been able to pursue her passion of working with immigrants while serving as an outreach ambassador and legal advocate intern with Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC), where she receives the opportunity to connect with immigrant communities by giving presentations throughout the Bay Area.

Diana’s work ethic stems from her father, who always told her that anything is possible if one stays focused and are willing to sacrifice. As a first-generation college student, her main goal is to show her younger siblings and extended family members that they can also do it. She has hopes of pursuing a career as a legislative staff attorney advocating for immigrant rights. 

As a CHCI Intern, Diana looks forward to being challenged, expanding her professional network, and gaining a deeper understanding for the legislative process.

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Nicolas Wulff, Comcast Intern
Hometown: Miami, FL
School: Florida International University
Major: Political Science
Placement: Office of Rep. Joe Garcia

Nicolas Wulff was born in Bogotá, Colombia along with his twin brother Esteban. Nicolas came to live in Miami, Florida at the age of five to be reunited with his mother, who had come to the United States three years earlier to work for a better life for her family.

During tenth grade, Nicolas found out about his undocumented status, but he did not let that stop him. Nicolas began working with an immigrant’s rights group that advocated for equal access for education for undocumented immigrants. SWER (Students Working for Equal Rights) became an integral part of his life and gave him the tools and the knowledge he needed to succeed.

Nicolas is now a senior at Florida International University in Miami pursuing a major in political science and minor in economics. He served as the president of the SWER FIU chapter and interned with the GOI around worker’s rights. Nicolas looks plans to attend law school in the near future.

As a DACA recipient, Nicolas has helped set up various clinics as part of a coalition to enable those who qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to be able to apply free of charge.

As a CHCI Intern, Nicolas will get an inside perspective of Latino’s on Capitol Hill and gain the necessary skills to better influence the community around him.

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2014 Summer HEP CAMP Interns:

Alberto AramburoHEP CAMP Intern
: Cashmere, WA
School: Wenatchee Valley College
Major: Education
Placement: United Farm Workers of America

Born in Wenatchee, Washington, and raised in Cashmere, Washington, Alberto’s parents divorced when he was thirteen. He lived with his mother who worked in warehouses and a fast-food restaurant to support her children. After a series of unfortunate events, Alberto dropped out of high school and earned his GED two months later at an alternative school.

Upon receiving his GED, Alberto began to work for a construction company and a produce warehouse.  After a year of working two full time jobs, Alberto realized the importance of school and became determined to continue his education.  With the help of the CAMP Program, he enrolled in Wenatchee Valley College and is majoring in education. He was elected freshman representative in the student senate, and recently student body president for 2014-2015. 

Through CHCI and the CAMP internship, Alberto hopes to improve his leadership and public speaking skills.  In addition, his internship with the United Farmworkers of America will develop his organizational and team building skills.

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Elizabeth CastroHEP CAMP Intern
: Mesa, WA
School: University of Washington
Major: International Studies
Placement: Office of Migrant Education, U.S. Department of Education

Elizabeth Castro’s parents immigrated to the United States from Veracruz, Mexico. Growing up, Elizabeth and her siblings were raised in farm worker communities in Mexico and in Washington State.

Elizabeth attended Columbia Basin College during high school and worked in apple and cherry orchards during the summer. After attending school in both Mexico and the United States, Elizabeth hopes to take part in the development and reevaluation of educational programs, through projects involving bilingual education, international education development.

As a CHCI and HEP Camp intern, Elizabeth hopes to broaden her network and learn to apply her professional skills to better serve as a leader.

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Vianney GonzalezHEP CAMP Intern
: American Falls, ID
School: Boise State University
Major: Microbiology
Placement: Office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Vianney Gonzalez is a first generation Mexican-American college student attending Boise State University. When she was three months old, her family migrated from Guanajuato, Mexico, to American Falls, Idaho. Vianney is the youngest of ten and when her father passed away, her oldest sibling left college to support the family. After countless challenges her family faced, Vianney understood the importance of continuing her education. Vianney is pursuing a bachelors of science in microbiology and plans to attend medical school with the intention of becoming a surgeon.

Through CHCI and the CAMP internship program, she hopes to obtain valuable life skills, leadership experience, and a more accurate understanding of policy. Moreover, she hopes to associate with individuals that share her passion for making a difference in the Latino community.

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Samantha RiveraHEP CAMP Intern
: Progreso, TX
School: University of Texas Pan American
Major: Rehabilitative Services
Placement: Office of Rep. Rubén Hinojosa

Born and raised in Progreso, Texas.  Samantha Rivera attends the University of Texas Pan American, where she majors in rehabilitative services.  A strong and determined young woman, she has overcome many obstacles in life, such as missing the beginning of academic years due to her migrant work, and her struggles with dyslexia. She worked diligently to develop the appropriate strategies to help manage her dyslexia in the classroom. She was a National Honor Society member throughout high school and has been a volunteer coach of a softball team for over four years.    

Through CHCI and the CAMP Internship, Samantha hopes better understand the legislative process and the role her congressman plays in meeting the needs of his constituents. She also hopes to inspire other Latinos to become leaders and follow their dreams and aspirations.

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Ariana RodriguezHEP CAMP Intern
: Los Angeles, CA
School: California State University, Long Beach
Major: Liberal Studies
Placement: Office of Rep. Xavier Becerra

Ariana Rodriguez is a first generation Mexican- American. Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, she spent her summers picking grapes in Tulare, California. She had always loved school and the motivation to pursue higher education.

Ariana has a focus on liberal studies degree at California State University-Long Beach in hopes of being an elementary school teacher. She is involved in both the College Assistance Migrant Program and the Educational Opportunity Program. Ariana became interested in politics when she lobbied with the American Heart Association and realized the impact that citizens can have on policy. 

Through CHCI and the CAMP Internship, Ariana hopes to learn more about how the public can influence policy and provide equal opportunities for unrepresented groups such as migrant families and first generation Hispanics.

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Diana Rojas, HEP CAMP Intern
: Salem, OR
School: Oregon State University
Major: Philosophy
Placement: The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics

Diana Rojas is a first generation college student at Oregon State University. Diana is the daughter of a single mother who motivated her to pursue higher education. Diana aspires to become a civil rights lawyer. She believes being a lawyer will give her the opportunity to make a positive impact on her community. Diana hopes to inspire, motivate, and influence young people, as well as advocate for single mothers, orphans and those who find themselves vulnerable in our society.   

As a CHCI and CAMP Intern, Diana hopes to gain firsthand experience and knowledge of the legislative process, and learn how Latinos are influencing their communities through policy. Diana feels grateful for this amazing opportunity and knows that her experience will enhance her skills to better serve the Latino community.

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